“The worst of the cancel-cultist, value-signaling companies generally pander to China’s tyrannical regime, which uses slave labor, murders dissidents and harvests their organs, currently has a million people in concentration camps (the Uighurs), and is accused of genocide. So it’s not just that these companies’ “virtue” isn’t actually virtue — it’s that it isn’t even sincere.”
(Selwyn Duke – New American Magazine) In 212 B.C., 460 scholars were “canceled,” permanently, when Emperor Qin Shi Huang had them buried alive for owning forbidden books. The Qin, who’d united China, made the argument, “We don’t want to hear people criticize the present by referring to the past,” Harvard University Chinese history professor Peter Bol told the BBC in 2012. “The past is irrelevant. History is irrelevant. And so you have the burning of books, you have the burying of scholars, of scholarly critics.”
When the renders and “reimaginers” of civilization today bury people and the past, figuratively, it’s the reputational and career destruction known as “cancel culture.” Ah, that’s a trendy term, it is, and people unmoored from tradition love trendy terms. Whatever you call it, however, the process is obviously nothing new. And though perhaps Bol is correct in saying that we “wouldn’t have a China without Qin Shi Huang” — and, maybe then, also no Mao Tse-tung — we’d still have cancel culture without Qin, China, or Mao.
For its practice reflects a truth: You can’t reprogram a computer so it performs as you wish without first eliminating conflicting programs. Likewise, to really change the hearts and minds of man, you must change his foundational beliefs. As Orwell said, he “who controls the past controls the future.” And our cancel cultists control the present well enough so that they’re delivering a Year Zero — a remaking of our culture — by a thousand cuts.
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